On Monday 16th May 2022, Michael Charles, Creative Director at Julia Charles Event Management was invited to guest speak as part of the Saudi Light and Sound Expo.

Partnershipped with the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo, the Saudi Light and Sound Expo invited a select group of industry experts to discuss a wide range of topics covering the events industry.

Michael was asked to share his industry insight into what makes an engaging, immersive and ultimately successful event. He also gave insight into the future of event production in the wake of the Metaverse and advances in digital technology.

Stage with LED screen showing start slide for Michael Charles' presentation and the Saudi Light and Sound Expo in Riyadh 2022.

The Key To Immersive Experiences

After introducing himself and his extensive experience in the events industry, Michael opened his presentation by talking about how we, as an event management company create immersive and engaging event experiences.

Michael stated that the three key factors to consider when creating an immersive experience were as follows:

  • Immersive activations
  • The importance of set build
  • The future of production

Immersive Activations

Being immersed is about complete engagement. Allowing your guests to be involved, connected in the moment, and, feel an emotion to the message!

Audience

Giving the example of TikTok as a potential client, Michael spoke about the TikTok audience and their drivers for using the app.

These were:

  • Users want to be noticed
  • They  want to be a part of “The New”
  • Being a part of a community
  • Instant validation
  • Is It relevant?

He then spoke about how, once this had been established, he, as a creative director, understood how best to reach and engage with this specific audience.

To achieve this, everything from the set and structure of the event space to the activations within the space was to be tailored around the TikTok audience. Therefore, creating an environment that allowed people to engage with lots of places to film content, activities where guests could start and film new trends as well as support from influencers.

Ultimately this created an event that would be engaging, immersive and most importantly successful with the audience it would be targeted at.

With every project an event company takes on, the first way to ensure success is to understand your audience and what they want out of the event you’re creating.

Presentation slide all about the importance of connecting with audiences in Michael Charles presentation at the Saudi Light and Sound Expo 2022.

Participation

Immersion only truly happens when the audience is engaged and participates. It transforms an attendee from simply being just an attendee to being a participant in how the event unfolds- giving them a sense of community, power and importance.

Michael continued his presentation by speaking about how he creates events that inspire the audience to participate. An example of this he gave was PSG Football club’s Middle East tour.

For this event, an interactive drone show was pitched. Not only would drones create shapes in the sky for people to see from miles around, allowing people to feel as if they were part of the event even if they weren’t attending.

But also fans could scan a QR code the drones had created and would be able to go on an app on their phone and vote for different match predictions to then have a say on what the drones would do next.

For example, perhaps they would predict that a certain player would score a certain type of goal- if the majority voted this, the drones would then create this prediction for the whole stadium to see.

This was a really clever way of not only incorporating the fans in the stadium but also giving people outside of the stadium a chance to experience the event.

Slide all about audience participation in Michael Charles' presentation all about immersive event experiences at Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo 2022.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Building a buzz around your event is essential, and in his presentation, Michal talks about how the Fear Of Missing Out is a key way to ensure that the event is engaged with and talked about.

A prime example of tapping into this idea was the party and product launch Julia Charles Event Management created for the Sidemen.

Arguably the biggest creator group on the planet- The Sidemen- approached us wanting a party to celebrate their fans as well as an event to soft launch 2 new products. Additionally, the client wanted to work with YouTube to help the launch of YouTube Shorts.

The goal of this event was to get fans excited and keen to try the new products Sidemen were realising as well as spread awareness and create more users for YouTube shorts.

Michael spoke about how the team focused on creating immersive and interactive event spaces through production, theming and styling which encouraged guests to interact. There were plenty of cool areas for guests to create content and boast about being at this VIP party all across social media and trying the Sidemen’s new products first.

The success of the event was immediate. Not only were fans desperate to find the location of the party so they could get a glimpse of the celebrity and influencer guests. But the social engagement skyrocketed, and upon launch, the products immediately sold out. All due to fans not wanting to miss out on being the first to experience this new product and get a taste of the Sidemen.


The Results of considering Audience, participation and FOMO

By considering all of the above elements when planning his events, Michael has been able to create truly immersive and experiential events that captivate and engage the audience.


Importance of Set Design

In his presentation, Michael then goes on to speak about how integral set design is.

“Making an event memorable is what warrants success. You don’t come back from Disneyland and say, it was ok!”

The fact is that with amazing set design and build, guests feel like they were part of something. By creating inspiring set designs you are being able to tell a story and create a narrative for your event that will leave guests with a lasting impression.

Additionally, creating set design and build is a crucial factor when considering the creation of any kind of product launch or brand activation event. In the presentation, Michael then goes on to talk about multiple different projects he’s worked on where he has created a story through creative set design and build.

Furthermore, when an event is good, the attendees want to share on social media about the event and their experience, taking pictures of them having a great time, “this is social proofing at its finest”.

Examples of various different set designs and builds Julia Charles Event Management and created to tell a story.

The Future of Production

In the last part of his presentation, Michael goes on to speak about the future of production as well as the advancement in event technology and the shift into Metaverse events.

Opening this section of the presentation with the question, “What is The Metaverse?” Michale discusses how the Metaverse can be partnered with live events to create a fully immersive experience.

Once fully realized, the metaverse could deliver a highly interactive experience where people can move freely and participate in two-way dialogues without needing to leave their homes. In fact, the metaverse’s ability to transcend location and even languages is one reason it’s so exciting. No longer will people need to travel great distances to gather.“- Forbes

Giving the example of Woodstock festival, Michael talks about the idea of Woodstock festival tickets existing as NFTs and the value they would command in today’s market.

“Imagine you got the chance to see Jimmy Hendrix shredding on his guitar, then imagine you still had that ticket, how much would that be worth today? What if you were to create tickets as NFT’s and then you can create a code which states that every time that ticket was sold by whoever, it then allows you to take a percentage.”

There are so many different ways to monetize on Metaverse style events as well as using that technology to enhance the attendee experience.

Event technology solutions for in-person, virtual and hybrid events. Including event apps, interactive mapping, metaverse-solutions, iBeacons and more.

In Conclusion…

At the end of his presentation, Michale summarises his points, presenting his idea of Immersion 3.0.

Creating an immersive event starts with stripping everything back. To create a truly immersive event, you need to get the foundations right. What story are you trying to tell? How can you tell it in an engaging, relevant way? How can you make people feel something? 

Immersion isn’t just about the fanfare of sword swallowers and pyrotechnics – those things have a part to play just as much as the finer details of design.

In order to immerse people in your event, they need to feel actively involved, excited and, ultimately, absorbed in the experience.

Pushing boundaries and being brave enough to invite people on a journey.

The key to achieving this is to create an event that is positive, beneficial and relevant.

Presentation slide from Michael Charles' Saudi Expo presentation discussing immersive events.

As well as speaking at Saudi Light and Sound Expo, Michael and his business partner Julia both exhibited at Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo, showcasing Julia Charles Event Management and the kinds of events the company can create.

It was a pleasure to be asked to exhibit and even more rewarding for Michael to be asked to be a guest speaker. We thoroughly enjoyed the event, meeting amazing people within the industry and within the Saudi Arabian government, as well as creating some great connections and the promise of some very exciting opportunities and work coming up.

If you’d like to get in contact to find out how we can help with your next immersive event then get in touch here.

Michael and Julia, directors at Julia Charles Event Management exhibiting at Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo 2022.

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